3 Reasons Your Marriage Was Not a Failure
- Gratitude for the good times
- Learn lessons through experience
- You get another chance
- Need help staying positive?
We tend to think of things as black or white. Good or bad, rich or poor, liberal or conservative, right or wrong.
But life is rarely black and white: It offers a spectrum of grays in between these two extremes. If you think of marriage in simple terms of success or failure – with yours firmly in the failure camp – you miss those important shades of gray and the opportunity to learn from your experience.
You can be grateful for the good times
With nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, the statistics are pretty dismal. You may have started out optimistic when you got married, but over time, that optimism faded. Divorce can have a way of circumventing any gratitude you might have felt for the good times you had.
Don’t let it do that. Your marriage likely provided you with some meaningful moments. Kids, holidays, vacations, adventures. The birth of your children. Your first home. Celebrations and disappointments that you weathered together. No matter how rough the ending was, there were probably plenty of happy times, too. And each moment of your marriage went into making you who you are today.
Accepting your marriage for what it was, bad and good, allows you to see it as a journey of two people who grew apart, not a failure. Gratitude? Forgiveness? These may even be possible as well.
You lived and learned
Like many other difficult times, divorce is one of life’s great teachers. You emerged from the pain through your own strength and resilience, and you’re a better person for it.
Divorce can teach us some hard truths and make us examine ourselves in ways we otherwise wouldn’t. Perhaps you now recognize the value of setting better boundaries for yourself or the merit of trusting your intuition. Perhaps you now realize that you were too trusting in your younger days, and you plan to use more discernment in future relationships. Perhaps you learned to take better care of your own needs. Before you give your all to someone else, you may have decided to prioritize yourself first.
There’s nothing like divorce to open your eyes to all the ways you could have been a better friend to yourself. Take advantage of this knowledge, and carry it with you into your future relationships.
You have another chance
Life is all about change, and divorce is one of the biggest changes you will likely experience in your life. Of course, we all want a perfect marriage the first time around, but life often has other plans.
You’re not the person you were when you first got married. You’re not even the person you were at the beginning of your divorce. You’ve changed, grown, and become stronger. And although it may not feel like it, your broken heart will heal. You have many more happy days ahead.
You have a chance for a fresh start. Divorce offers us a great do-over. Did you give up a career or a post-secondary degree? Fulfilling hobbies? Friendships? Now is your chance to revisit old goals or create new ones. Rediscover or redefine the authentic you that may have gone by the wayside in order to be more acceptable to your spouse or others. Put away old regrets, and reignite things that made you excited about life. This is your time to shine.
Your marriage was not a failure just because it ended
Yes, your marriage ended, as many good things – and not-so-good things – do. But marriage provides us with the ultimate relationship education. It is a grand experiment with no guarantees.
What if I need help staying positive?
It’s normal to need encouragement. That’s one reason Hello Divorce is here – we strive to provide people with support before, during, and after divorce. We’ve seen a lot of people through divorce, and we have witnessed people finding true happiness in the wake of it.
Nothing about your divorce may feel positive at first. That’s normal. You will grieve in your own time, and that’s necessary.
Get support, whether it’s from family, good friends, others in a support group, or a professional divorce coach or therapist. When it comes to huge life transitions like divorce, it can take a village. Don’t do it alone.